How to clean a kitchen chimney – 6 easy ways

How to clean kitchen chimney

     Kitchen chimney is one of the appliances we use regularly that too multiple times a day. It helps to keep our kitchen clean by preventing oil deposits on the kitchen tiles, wall and even ceiling, improves air quality in the kitchen and also prevents odors in the kitchen. 

     But these chimneys must be cleaned and maintained regularly and it is a time-consuming and demanding task. In the case of Indian kitchens it becomes even more difficult because of the tadkas and masalas we make regularly. But nonetheless it has to be cleaned regularly since built-up of grease and dirt on the chimney filters might reduce its efficiency and longevity. So proper care of the chimneys must be done from time to time.

     Most Indian kitchens use mesh filters / baffle filters. Baffle filters are relatively easier to clean and maintain. Both filters are usually made of aluminium, hence it is always better to use natural ingredients and non abrasive scrubs to clean the filters since harsh chemicals and scrubs might abrade and decolour the aluminium. 

Commonly used materials to clean a chimney

Dishwashing liquid
Baking soda
Caustic soda
Vinegar
Paint thinner
Hot water

To clean a chimney filter, always remove the filter from the hood, wear rubber gloves and follow the following techniques.

How often should you clean your kitchen chimney

The frequency of cleaning depends on the type of the filter used. Usually cassette filters should be cleaned once a week or atleast once in ten days. Baffle filters should be cleaned once a month. Chimneys with charcoal filters cannot be cleaned and hence have to be replaced every 6 months. 

Dishwashing liquid

Dishwashing liquid is mild when compared to chemicals or soap / detergents.

  • Fill a tub with boiling hot water. Add half a cup dishwashing liquid. Immerse the filter into the mixture. The filter should be completely immersed. Leave it undisturbed for 2 to 3 hours.
  • Alternatively you can take the mixture in a stainless steel tub, immerse the filter and boil it for half an hour.
  • Then remove the filter, scrub gently with a non abrasive scrub, wash it with plain water, wipe dry / sun dry. 

Baking soda

Baking soda ( sodium bicarbonate ) is a mild alkaline & abrasive and is used as an all purpose cleaning agent.

  • Fill a tub with boiling hot water. Add ¼ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of rock salt, 2 cups of white vinegar and soak the filter in this mixture for 2 to 3 hours. The filter should be completely immersed. 
  • Alternatively you can boil the filter in this mixture for half an hour using a stainless steel tub.
  • Then scrub with a non abrasive sponge / washcloth and wash it with plain water.
  • Wipe it and sun dry for half an hour.

Paint thinner

Paint thinner is used in cases of grease stains which are difficult to remove. It works instantly and can be used as a quick fix when you have missed cleaning your chimney for a while. You can also use nail polish remover / acetone as a substitute for paint thinner. 

  • Take a washcloth or a microfiber cloth and soak it with paint thinner.
  • Gently scrub the filter covering each and every area of the filter. Start with a circular motion for bigger areas and include the nooks, corners and creases.
  • Wash it with water. Repeat scrubbing with thinner if necessary and wash again.
  • Dry in sunlight for an hour.

Caustic soda

Caustic soda ( sodium hydroxide ) is inexpensive but a powerful cleaning agent. Care should be taken while using caustic soda as it can produce fumes and cause burns when comes in contact with bare skin. Always use caustic soda in a well ventilated space wearing protective gloves and goggles and be careful to not come in contact with it.

  • Place the filter in a stainless steel tub.
  • Sprinkle caustic soda all over it and leave it for 10 to 15 mins.
  • Then add hot water till the filter is completely immersed and leave it undisturbed for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Remove the filter, scrub with a sponge and wash thoroughly in water. Wipe dry. 

Hot water

Using plain hot water to clean the chimney is the easiest and least time consuming. When you clean your chimney regularly without skipping this method can be followed.

  • In a stainless steel tub, place the filter  and add hot water till it completely covers the filter.
  • Boil for half an hour. Boiling unblocks the grease / oil stains.
  • Remove the filter, scrub mildly with a sponge / cloth and wash thoroughly.
  • Dry in sunlight for half an hour.

Vinegar

White vinegar is an acidic all purpose cleaning agent. It is mildly abrasive in nature and a disinfectant too.

  • Fill a tub with hot water. Add 2 cups of vinegar. Place the filter such that it is completely immersed. Soak for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours scrub with a sponge, wash with water and wipe dry.

How to clean chimney hood

  • Chimney hood or exteriors can be wiped with vinegar wipes / water wipes.
  • Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Apply over the hood and leave it for 10 minutes. Wipe it with a wet cloth.
  • Take a spray bottle and add 1 tbsp detergent, 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar. Spray over the hood. Wipe with a moist cloth after 10 minutes.

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